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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

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– raw, vegan, gluten-free –

In the past few days I had to make quite a bit of almond milk, and in my weirdness, I popped all the skins off of the almonds before I made the milk.  It’s not required I just find it therapeutic for some reason.  After making the nut milk, I was left with some of the most beautiful, pure white almond pulp. I knew this pulp had a special calling and that to make this Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.


The cake didn’t come out as white as I had envisioned due to the date paste but man oh man, is it delicious. To keep it pure white, I will play with a different sweetener next time.

I realize that 8 cups of almond pulp is quite a bit but I promise you, it is worth your time and effort to collect it so you can make this creation (which was inspired by Cafe Gratitude).  Keep in mind that you don’t have to make gallons of almond milk all at once to acquire 8 cups of pulp… unless you feel so inspired. And SHOULD you go this route, may I recommend making almond milk in a juicer?! Click (here) to learn how. This technique will save your poor little patties from all that squeezing.

If you don’t feel that ambitious, every time you make almond milk, measure the pulp and place it in a freezer-safe container. Over time you will soon build up your supply.  Where there is a will, there is a way. And I hope that your “will” to make this cake is strong enough to find a way.

Key Ingredients & Techqinue Tips

Almond Pulp

I have already touched on this ingredient up above but what I didn’t mention was the fact that you don’t want to substitute it for any other ingredient. Almond pulp produces a unique texture to cakes in the raw food world. If you were to use just ground almonds, the cake would be heavy and dense.

Poppy Seeds

I have made this cake many times but this last time I found myself without enough poppy seeds to make the cake. I didn’t have time to run to the store so I used basil seeds instead. The basil seeds that are used for eating are the seeds from the sweet basil plant, Ocimum basilicum. They are also called Thai basil seeds, falooda, sabja, subza, selasih, or tukmaria.

Sweet basil seeds are a similar size as chia seeds. The difference is basil seeds are completely black and tear-shaped, whereas chia seeds are typically mottled shades of grey with brown and have a more rounded shape. Like chia, basil seeds become gelatinous when soaked in water. They are used in drinks in many Asian countries for thickening as well as for health. These tiny seeds are reported to have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic and antifungal properties.

Date Paste

Date paste plays a couple of rolls in this recipe. First off, it works as a binder, meaning it helps hold all the ingredients together. The second function is for providing a natural sweetener to the cake.  I haven’t experimented with other liquid or dry sweetener but I am sure I will in time. So for now, stick with what we know works best.

Mixing & Blending

When making the cake batter, I highly suggest mixing the ingredients together in a mixer, not a food processor. This keeps the texture more on the fluffy/light side.  The first step in the recipe is to blend the date paste with a few other ingredients, for that step, I used the whisk attachment.  The key is to mix it until the date paste almost starts to turn a softer color.  Once I started adding in the almond pulp and other ingredients, I switch over to the paddle attachment.

Pan Choice

You can use any depth and width of the pan that you want or have on hand. The wider the pan, the shorter the cake will be. Springform pans work well. I used a pan that had a removable base. Regardless of which pan you choose, it’s nice to have two of the pans since most pans won’t be able to handle the overall height of the cake with all the layers. If you only have one pan, don’t sweat it. You will just have to assemble the cake in two steps instead of one.

This cake is actually very easy to make. Thee are a few steps but you will learn a lot of wonderful techniques that will help you in with future raw recipes. I hope you enjoy, blessings, amie sue


yields 8+” double-layer cake




Cake batter:

  1. Using a MIXER; add the date paste, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.
    • Make sure the date paste and coconut oil are the same temperatures. If you have date premade and stored in the fridge or freezer (like me), bring it to room temp otherwise the coconut oil will clump up.
    • You can use a food processor, but the next step I recommend a mixer… so why dirty both machines?
  2. Start mixing at a low-speed first than higher until you have a creamy and very smooth consistency.
    • This will take a few minutes.  Allow more time if necessary.
    • You want a light, whipped and creamy consistency.
    • This process can take 5-15 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer off and add the nut pulp/flour, almond milk, and lemon juice.
    • Begin mixing at a low speed.
    • Mix for 5 minutes or until all ingredients are well incorporated.
    • Increase speed to medium or high and continue mixing for 5-15 minutes. Stop to scrape sides often.
    • If the batter is really dry feeling, add a touch more almond milk. This will depend on how moist your almond pulp is.
  4. The cake batter should be soft in consistency and rather light to the touch.
  5. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and with your hand’s mix in the poppy seeds.
  6. Divide the batter into 2 equal parts… roughly 4 1/4 cups. Set aside.


  1. After the cashews are done soaking, drain and discard the soak water.
  2. In a high powered blender combine the; cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, sweetener, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy (3-5 minutes)
  3. While your blender is running, drizzle in the coconut oil and then slowly add the lecithin.  Blend well but don’t over process.
  4. Proceed to cake assembly directions.

Cake Assembly:

  1. Lightly grease the cake pan with a little coconut oil. Use a pan with a removable bottom for ease of removing the cake layers.
  2. Place one portion of the batter on the bottom of the pan.
    • Spread an evenly, flat layer.
    • Keep the remaining cake portion out at room temperature until ready to use.
  3. Pour 2 1/2 – 3 cups of liquid frosting onto the first cake layer.  This will be the middle layer of the cake.
  4. Place the cake pan in the freezer until frosting is firm to the touch (1-2 hours).
  5. Pour the remaining frosting in a container, and set in the freezer until firm (1-2 hours).  Move to fridge once set, don’t allow it to get solid.
    • If the frosting freezes, that’s ok. Just remove and place on the counter to soften. Keep an eye on it though so it doesn’t get too soft.
  6. Remove cake pan from freezer.  Take the remaining portion of cake batter and spread evenly on top of the middle layer of frosting.
  7. Set cake back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
    • Freezing the cake will make the frosting step much easier. Otherwise, small crumbles of cake may get mixed up in the frosting.
  8. Remove cake from freezer and then from the pan.
  9. Frost and decorate the cake to your liking.
  10. This cake can last up to 5 days in the fridge or longer in the freezer.
    • If freezing, be mindful of how you decorate it. You may want/need to do the final decorating on the day of serving.
    • Be sure to keep the cake sealed so it doesn’t absorb fridge or freezer odors.

36 thoughts on “Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  1. Andrea says:

    Does this cake need to be refrigerated once it’s assembled? It looks delicious! :)

  2. Cin says:

    Hi Amie-Sue!

    I love, love, love your website! My husband and I have been raw foodists for nine months now, and your site has been the most exciting and informative resource by far. I’m on your site several times a day just studying recipes!

    My questions about this cake are two-fold. First, I don’t have almond pulp, but I do have almond meal. How will this affect the end product? Second, the pictures look like you are using a super deep springform pan. Is it just a trick of the photography? I’ve looked for a really deep springform pan and can’t find one.

    Thanks for your time and for having such a wonderful website and resource!!!


    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Cin,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. :) Gourmet raw foods can be such great additions to add to ones diet, I am thankful that the recipes I post and share are an inspiration for you. That is why I do this! So again, thank you!

      Regarding the cake. You asked if you could use almond meal instead of almond pulp. The answer is yes but personally, I wouldn’t. The reason being is that it will effect the texture greatly. The beauty of almond pulp is that it is light and airy where almond meal becomes very dense. It shouldn’t change the flavor to much, maybe a tad, but it will change the over-all texture. I don’t get to make these cakes often because it takes me a while to stock up on almond pulp. :P I have SOOO many recipes sitting in the hopper waiting to be made but they use almond/nut pulp. Do you and you husband drink or use much nut milk? I have been known to make oodles of milk, then freeze it in quart size Zip-locks just so I can get the pulp. lol

      The pan that I am using in this photo is a tall baking pan. It isn’t a Spring form pan but it does have a bottom that removes. You end up dividing the batter into two sections so you could use two pans. Chill them, then frost and assemble. I LOVE tall cakes, but a person doesn’t have to make it that way. the bigger in diameter the pan, the thinner the layers…all is good! I hope that helps.

      Let me know if you have any more questions. I will always help when and where I can. Many blessings! amie sue

  3. Cin says:

    Hi Amie Sue! That you so much for the very thorough response! It is incredible that you care enough to take so much time to help. If you don’t already know this, it is amazing of you and very much appreciated!
    I went ahead and made the cake with almond meal. I get on a roll and can’t stop myself from wanting to be in the kitchen creating. It was as you said. That cake turned out extremely heavy/dense. The flavor is very nice, but I can tell by your pictures and desciption that the texture is way off.
    My husband and I use maybe 5 to 6 cups of almond milk a week, and I really can’t think of a reason that we would up that quantity. I suppose if I didn’t use vanilla bean or dates in my milk I could use it as a water substitute in more of my recipes. I didn’t realize that I could freeze the milk, so thank you for making me aware of that option.
    As for the really deep pan… I also love tall cakes. I did end up using two spring form pan and stacking them at the end. It worked out very nicely! The cake was GORGEOUS!!!! It was so pretty that it made me sad that I didn’t use the almond pulp and have the complete package. Oh well. It was fun to make, and I will make it again as soon as I can work out a way to amass 8 cups of almond pulp.
    Again, thank you so much for your guidance. I love being raw. It has given me food freedom and health that I never thought possible. Knowing that I have raw community support and resources makes it that much sweeter!!!!


    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Cin,
      You are more than welcome. I am glad that I can be of help…:) I appreciate you equally!

      I am sorry to hear that your cake turned out dense… but in some ways it was good that you tested it out so you have a first hand understanding as to what different textures can do to the end product. :) We all live and learn. Keep saving up that pulp in the freezer…that’s what I do. I have thought of going into the nut milk making business just so I could get the pulp. lol I dream.

      Have a blessed evening… we put 600 miles on the truck today, I am tuckered out! amie sue

  4. Robyn says:

    Hi Amie Sue!

    I am stirring up a storm of wonderfulness in my kitchen this afternoon and of course I am on your site to inspire! I have been looking at this cake recipe for a few days and today is the day!

    I just have one question….regarding the date paste… I don’t have a kitchen scale, any idea how much date paste (in liquid measurement) makes up a weight measurement of 24 oz?


  5. Gail Grini says:

    How many cups of soaked almonds makes 8 cups of pulp?

    • amie-sue says:

      Gail, this is a rough estimate but 2 cups of almonds will yield about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of pulp, just depends on how much liquid you squeeze out of it when making nut milk and how tight you pack the measuring cup. amie sue

  6. Lynda says:


    Everything on your website looks so delicious. I’ve been intimidated by some of the recipes thinking they are probably too hard for a raw beginner but I’ve found some courage after looking at this lemon poppy seed cake. I’m going to make it this weekend.

    I am curious. when you take something raw to an event do you announce that it is raw? I think I would like to make this for Christmas dinner. I don’t think I want to tell them anything because I don’t want them to prejudge.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Lynda,

      Things can see, intimidating when they are new, but trust me… with a few basics under your belt you will be well on your way to creating amazing raw foods! So stay courageous. :) Over the years I have learned to not announce that I am serving or bringing a raw dish.. unless it is a potluck or even that is geared strictly towards that. The reason being is because just the name can be off putting to people. For the typical SAD eater, when they hear raw, they think carrot sticks or imagine that it will taste like grass. So before they even get one bite of it, they are already creating an outcome in their mind. Either just present the cake, or present it as gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. That is now more mainstream. Besides, when was the last time you asked someone about their baked cake and they responded. “I know it looks gorgeous, it’s because I cooked it? ” or “Would you like a piece of cooked cake?”…. I hope this helps. Have a wonderful Christmas dinner!

  7. Ludia says:

    Hello, Amie-Sue,

    Happy New Year to you!

    I am going to make this next, as cupcakes (licking her chops), and I have almond pulp, but I dehydrate it. From the comments above it seems that you are using fresh almond pulp? If so, I should re-hydrate mine? I wonder what yor thoughts are on this,


    and I am looking forward to uncooking from your website more than ever this year!



    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Ludia..

      I haven’t tried that before…”rehydrating almond pulp once dried”. I mean, I use it in recipes that call for liquid and all but this would be different. Personally, I wouldn’t. I don’t think it would hydrate to the same value as moist almond pulp, which would change the texture of this cake. As a test for yourself to see with your own eyes…. make a glass of nut milk for yourself and set the wet almond pulp in a bowl. Then take a small amount of the dehydrated almond pulp and add water to it…. you will notice a difference. In some cases, I think it would be fine for to get this cake texture, I wouldn’t do it. I hope this makes sense. Let me know. Happy New Year! amie sue

  8. Ludia says:

    Thank you for your thoughts. I think you are right. I will make some almond milk just so that I have pulp, when I’m back home.

  9. Blanka says:

    Dear Amy,
    can I ask you which attachment for the mixer you used? Pastry or the one you whip cream with?
    I have tried two of these cakes and the batter is always very heavy, doesn’t come even close to a light whipped like texture…. As I salivate over your pictures on a regular basis I would appreciate any help to be able to make a better cake myself (I do have the Sweet gratitude book and have followed their recipe).
    Thank you very much!

  10. Blanka says:

    I just looked at the pictures and see that you use the whipping attachment – perhaps that is where I went wrong!
    Please ignore my question – have found the answer.
    And you are still amazing!!
    XX, Blanka

  11. Wendy says:

    Hi Amie-Sue!

    I plan to make this cake very soon and saw a post about someone asking about how much is 24 ounces of weight in liquid measurement. I was wondering the same thing or in cups. I know 24 ounces=3 cups. Would that be the same thing by weight? I do not have a kitchen scale either.


    BTW, your website is great! Very glad to have come across it!1

    • amie-sue says:

      Aaah Wendy, I am sorry, this comment got buried!

      To be honest, I can’t answer this question right away. I can’t remember cup wise what it was and I have packed my scale so I can test it for you. ARGH. I am very sorry! I will see what I can do though to get an answer. It’s not as easy as just converting it over to cups because date paste is heavy. I feel horrible, but I will be back soon with an answer. I will go buy a darn scale if I have to. lol

  12. Wendy says:

    Hi Was the almond flour you used wet almond pulp or dry?

    • amie-sue says:

      It was moist Wendy, I made the change to the recipe to help. Are you going to make this cake? Have a wonderful evening, amie sue

      • Wendy says:

        Yes! I was shocked at how “genuine” this looked when I came across your site and just had to make it. I have been looking over the ingredients/process of how you made it and want to make sure I get this right.

        My mother wanted it for mother’s day but I could not make it for her as I did not have the things I needed. I have already ordered all the things I need to successfully (hopefully!) make it for this weekend even the turmeric to get the yellow color for the frosting. Now all I need now is the right pan, as I like the tall cake.

        What size is the pan you used in the photo?

        • amie-sue says:

          Hi Wendy,

          I have a high walled cake pan, I think it it is 8″ high (I have it packed right now so I can’t go measure it)…. you can use any cake pan to your liking. If you use a high walled pan, you might have a little batter left over which as you can see in my post, makes great cupcakes as a bonus. :) Enjoy!!!

  13. Wendy says:

    P.S. Your website is great!!

  14. Jenn says:

    Hi, i only have hand mixer. Will food processor work in place of mixer with whipping attachment?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Jenn,

      I would almost use the hand mixer instead of the food processor just for the fear of the power and action of the food processor creating it into more of a paste. I haven’t ever tried it so I am not 100%, but my gut tells me to use the hand mixer. Have a happy day! amie sue

  15. Liga says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!
    I made it a few years ago on my birthday. It took me 3 days to complete it as I made everything from the scratch – date paste, almond milk (I had to soak almonds), soaked the cashews and didn’t have a mixer. I used a slow juicer to make almond milk, date paste and cashew paste. Then mixed everything else by hand. Nevertheless it did not affect the consistency or the taste. The cake turned out perfect, too beautiful and too delicious. There were 18 people who had a piece of the cake, and none was left for me. Luckily one of my friends shared his piece with me. I have to admit – it was divine!
    Haven’t made it since then. It’s a big commitment :) Maybe I will gather all my strength and make it again for another special occasion, but this time I will set aside my piece before serving anyone else ;)

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Liga,

      I do agree that this cake is what I refer to as a “labor of love” :) I find that it is worth the time and effort for sure. Thank you for sharing this, I really appreciate it. I hope that you are having a wonderful day! amie sue

  16. Elodie says:

    Hello Amie-Sue,

    Thank you for sharing with all of us your gorgeous and decilious recipes! I tried many of your recipes and my family (one wonderful husband, 3 young children who want to eat food that looks and taste good) loved all of them.
    Now my son will have a birthday in 2 days and I live in Austria. I did look for the lecithin powder everywhere, but did not find it. Online they do not deliver in Austria… so my question is, if I make this dessert without the lecithin powder would it work? Thanks!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Elodie,

      Thank you for the kind words. I love being a part of your families meals. :)

      Yes, you can make it without the lecithin. I hope you enjoy the cake. Keep me posted. Many blessings to the birthday boy! amie sue

      • Elodie says:

        Thank you for your reply! The cake was beautiful and tasted good too! Our 12 year-old son was delighted :) I decorated the cake with mango and pineapple that I cut in Star Wars shapes!

  17. Quatasia says:

    Hi Amie,

    Can I use Brazil nut or hazel nut pulp instead of almond pulp? I make a lot of Brazil nut milk and hazelnut milk. Just my personal preference. Also, I like to make my nut milks in a juicer instead of blender. Will the pulp from juicer still work even though the pulp is drier than using a blender and nut milk bag?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Quatasia,

      Let me see if I can answer your questions here…

      Q. – Can I use Brazil nut or hazelnut pulp instead of almond pulp?
      A. – Yes, you can. Even though nut pulps don’t offer a lot of taste, the Brazil nut pulp may be a bit stronger in taste than the almond. So just be aware that it might alter the end flavor a tad.

      Q. – I like to make my nut milks in a juicer instead of blender. Will the pulp from juicer still work even though the pulp is drier than using a blender and nut milk bag?
      A. – Yes, you can use the pulp when making it through a juicer. You may need to add a little water to the cake batter if it is too dry. When working with nut pulps, it will always vary in moisture. Some people have stronger hands than others which leads to a drier pulp. The batter should be moist and holds together when you squeeze it together. If it doesn’t add a little water or nut milk till it does.

      I hope this helps. Keep me posted if you make the recipe! blessings, amie sue

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